By Christopher Bodeen
The Associated Press
BEIJING (AP) — A new English-language paper published by China’s Communist Party hit newsstands on Monday, April 20; it’s part of Beijing’s efforts to raise its profile on the global stage and find an international audience for the party line.
The inaugural English edition of the Global Times led with stories about public support for naval development and how the Great Wall of China was even longer than orginally estimated.
An editorial titled “Discover China, discover the world” said the paper aimed to continue its Chinese edition’s tradition of “presenting news from a Chinese perspective, in a fair, insightful, and courageous manner.”
“We strive to reveal a complete and true picture of China. We are dedicated to conveying the original voices of Chinese people,” it said.
The new paper’s launch reflects China’s recent “soft power” drive to build its global reputation, muffle foreign criticism, and broadcast particular views on issues such as democracy, human rights, and Tiet.
Along with the media, China’s propaganda campaign includes academic, cultural, and sports exchanges, highlighted by last year’s Beijing Summer Olympic Games.
The effectiveness of such efforts has yet to be proven, however. In media, Beijing hasn’t yet hit on a formula to connect broadly with Western audiences.
“Credibility is going to be a problem. It’s not really professional news coverage and the real impact won’t be known yet,” said David Bandurski, an expert on Chinese media at the University of Hong Kong. “Chinese voices,” as mentioned in the Global Times editorial, are really the voices of the Communist leadership, he said.
Bandurski said China’s leaders hope to grab a larger share of international opinion, but their efforts have so far been rooted in unbending “us-against-them” language more suited to the pre-reform era under former Communist ruler Mao Zedong.
The moves to expand into international media have often been twinned with a campaign of vilification against the established Western players.
As if to prove that point, Monday’s Global Times editorial accused foreign media of reporting on spying allegations against China as part of a coordinated smear campaign.
“In fact, this coverage is simply to create an anti-China bias to legitimize the Cold War–era thinking the Western media still employs,” said the editorial, headlined “‘China threat’ leads to spy conspiracy theories.”
The Global Times is published by the Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily, which is directly controlled by the party’s powerful Central Committee.
The English edition joins a Chinese-language version focused mainly on international news that has been publishing since 1993.
Within China, it will compete with the more established English-language China Daily, as well as the smaller Shanghai Daily. Both dailies — like all mainland media — are state-controlled. (end)